RELIGIOUS CALENDAR

Februray-March 2016

The calendar below, created by Dr. Peter Yuichi Clark, is an excellent way to keep on top of religious high holy days and festivals as they go by. It is especially useful for those in interfaith vocations who need this information on a day-to-day basis.

TIO is cooperating with another “working” religious calendar project being led by Read the Spirit. It extends what we usually mean by religious calendar to include important civic holidays. It identifies major religious holidays more than a year in advance. Most important, it features stories about what these many religious festival events are all about – what they mean, the important stories, the food associated, and how particular events are celebrated. Your own stories of religious holidays, whatever your tradition, are welcomed at the site. Check it out!

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The Iroquois Midwinter Ceremony, in which old fires are extinguished and new fires are lit, and the Hopi Holy Cycle, in which the changing of the seasons and the nature of the Hopi sacred universe are celebrated, begin in January and February, but the dates of observance vary by tribe.  It is also the season of K’aliyee, the time of the north wind that blows off glaciers and icecaps that linger from the last ice age.

March and April mark the season of the Eagle Dances, when people of the Arizona Pueblo tribes dance to dramatize their communities’ relationship with the Sky-World. This month is also known as Xsaak, the season when candlefish swarm and members of the Nisga’a tribes catch these fish, dry them, and render them into oil for lamps. The Iroquois Midwinter Ceremony, in which old fires are extinguished and new fires are lit, and the Hopi Holy Cycle, in which the changing of the seasons and the nature of the Hopi sacred universe are celebrated, begin in January and February, but the dates of observance vary by tribe. It is also the season of K’aliyee, the time of the north wind that blows off glaciers and icecaps that linger from the last ice age.

Monday, February 15

  • Nirvana Day – Buddhism
    In northern Buddhist traditions, this day marks the anniversary of the historical Buddha’s death in ca. 486 B.C.E. and his subsequent entrance into enlightenment or Nirvana. In southern Buddhist traditions, the Buddha’s death is commemorated during Visakha.


Friday, February 19

  • Birthday of Kwan Yin Bodhisattva – Buddhism [Mahayana Pure Land tradition]
    A celebration of the birth of the bodhisattva of compassion—an enlightened being who vows to attain final, supreme enlightenment in order to save all sentient beings from suffering. In the Pure Land tradition, this bodhisattva frequently accompanies Amida Buddha in icons and other depictions.


Monday, February 22

  • Magha Puja Day [Dharma Day] – Buddhism
    In the Theravada Buddhist tradition, this full moon day of the third lunar month marks the historical Buddha’s sermon at Veruvana Monastery in the city of Rajagaha, where he spoke to 1250 en-lightened monks who were ordained by him.


Thursday, February 25

  • Ayyám-i-Há – Bahá’í [through February 29]
    Starting at sundown, this festival marks the beginning of the intercalary days for festivities, gift giving, and charitable actions.


Tuesday, March 1

  • ‘Alá – Bahá’í
    The beginning of the nineteenth and final month, meaning “loftiness,” and also of a 19-day fast in preparation for Naw Rúz [see March 20]. Adult believers in good health abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk.


Sunday, March 6

  • Orthodox Sunday - Christianity (Eastern churches)
    The beginning of the nineteenth and final month, meaning “loftiness,” and also of a 19-day fast in preparation for Naw Rúz [see March 20]. Adult believers in good health abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk.


Monday, March 7

  • Maha Shivaratri - Hinduism
    A night devoted to the worship of the god Shiva, whose dance creates and destroys and recreates the world; it is marked by vigils and fasting.


Wednesday, March 9

  • Losar [Tibetan New Year] - Buddhism
    Celebrating the beginning of a three-day festival for the year 2143 in the Tibetan calendar.


Wednesday, March 9

  • Losar [Tibetan New Year] - Buddhism
    Celebrating the beginning of a three-day festival for the year 2143 in the Tibetan calendar.


Thursday, March 10

  • Sri Ramakrishna Jayanti - Hinduism
    A celebration of the birth of the teacher of Swami Vivekananda, who introduced Hinduism to the United States at the first Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893.


Sunday, March 13

  • Cheesefare Sunday [Forgiveness Sunday] - Christianity (Eastern churches)
    This feast marks the last day of eating dairy products prior to Holy Pascha (also known as Easter). The Great Fast or Great Lent begins at sundown and is marked by forty days of vegetarian fasting, intense prayer, and almsgiving in preparation for Holy Week. The following day is known as Clean Monday.


Monday, March 14

  • New Year’s Day - Sikhism
    In the Nanakshahi calendar, this day is the beginning of the year 548.

  • Memorial of Shan-tao (Zendō) - Buddhism
    Anniversary of the death of a Chinese Pure Land Buddhist priest who died in 681 C.E. He taught that enlightenment could occur simply through repetition of the name of Amitabha or Amida Buddha (nianfo or nembutsu), and is honored as the Fifth Patriarch of that Buddhist school.


Wednesday, March 16

  • Ghambar Hamaspathmaedem, Fravardegan, or Muktad - Zoroastrianism
    (continues until March 20)
    A celebration of the creation of human beings and a commemoration of souls who have died. Prayers are offered to the fravashis (the divine spark within each human, which lives forever), asking for their blessings and protection.


Thursday, March 17

  • Saint Patrick’s Day - Western Christianity
    A commemoration of the missionary bishop who evangelized Ireland in the fifth century C.E.


Sunday, March 20 spring equinox

  • Palm Sunday - Christianity (Western churches)
    The remembrance of Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, when crowds spread palm fronds on the ground as Jesus rode into the city. Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week.

  • Spring Ohigon - Buddhism
    For Buddhists who practice in the Jōdo Shinshū [Japanese Pure Land] tradition, this is a special time to listen to the teaching of the Buddha and meditate on the perfection of enlightenment as lived in the Six Perfections or Paramitas (generosity, morality, wisdom, honesty, endeavor, and patience).

  • Shunki-sorei-sai - Shintō
    The time of the spring memorial service, when ancestors’ spirits are revered at home altars and gravesites are cleaned and purified.

  • Ostara - Wicca
    A time to mark the divine goddess’s blanketing of the Earth with fertility as the god stretches and grows to maturity, manifested in the reawakening of seeds within the Earth as they are touched by divine love.

  • Spring Feast - Native American spirituality
    A day to mark the coming and going of seasons and to honor planting through songs, stories, and prayer.

  • Naw Rúz - Bahá’í
    Marking the beginning of the year 173 of the Bahá’í era, and the beginning of the first month of the year, known as Bahá or “splendor.”


Monday, March 21

  • Navruz [Now Ruz or Norooz] - Zoroastrianism
    The beginning of the Zoroastrian new year, 1386 AY or 3754 AZ in the Fasli seasonal calendar, which also celebrates the renewal of the world and the creation of fire (which symbolizes righteousness). Zarathustra, the founder of Zoroastrianism, received his revelation on this day.


Wednesday, March 23

  • Eve of Purim - Judaism
    A celebration of the Jews’ rescue from an evil plot to destroy them while they were living in Persia, the events of which are recorded in the Hebrew biblical book of Esther. The holiday includes reading the Megillah (the scroll of Esther), exchanging gifts, and special pastries called hamantashen.

  • Holi - Hinduism
    This festival is one of Hinduism’s most popular celebrations. People throw colored powder or spray colored water to celebrate episodes in the life of the god Krishna.


Thursday, March 24

  • Magha Puja Day [Dharma Day] - Buddhism
    In the Theravada Buddhist tradition, this full moon day of the third lunar month marks the historical Buddha’s sermon at Veruvana Monastery in the city of Rajagaha, where he spoke to 1250 en-lightened monks who were ordained by him.

  • Hola Mohallah - Sikhism
    A three-day festival instituted by the tenth Sikh gurū, Gobind Singh, as a time for military pre-paredness exercises, Hola Mohallah now is celebrated with mock battles, music competitions, and festivities.

  • Feast of the Annunciation - Christianity
    This festival marks the visit of the Archangel Gabriel to Mary of Nazareth and Mary’s faithful response to God’s plan by consenting to be Jesus’ mother.

  • Maundy Thursday [Holy Thursday] - Christianity (Western churches)
    The remembrance of Jesus’ last supper with his disciples and his institution of the “love commandment” (the term “Maundy” comes from the Latin word for “commandment”) while he washed their feet as a servant.


Friday, March 25

  • Good Friday - Christianity (Western churches)
    A commemoration of the passion of Jesus of Nazareth, i.e., his death by crucifixion. At sundown some churches begin the Easter vigil either this evening or on Holy Saturday (March 26).


Saturday, March 26

  • Khordad Sal - Zoroastrianism
    The birth anniversary of the prophet Zarathustra.


Sunday, March 27

  • Easter Sunday - Christianity (Western churches)
    Celebrating God’s raising of Jesus of Nazareth from the dead, this day is the oldest and most central festival in the Christian year and initiates the fifty-day period culminating in Pentecost.


 

If you want more information about any of these holy days, please contact UCSF Medical Center Spiritual Care Services at 415-353-1941415-353-1941 (Rev. Dr. Peter Yuichi Clark)

Our thanks to the Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago, the Multifaith Action Society of British Columbia (Canada), BBC’s Religion Website, Peel Schools District Board (Mississauga, Ontario, Canada), the Arizona State University Provost’s Office, the NCCJ of the Piedmont Triad, and www.interfaithcalendar.org

To subscribe to this calendar and sync it with your Google, Outlook, or iCal calendars, visit http://ucsfspiritcare.org and select the “Resources” menu

·         Birthday of the Prophet Joseph Smith – Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints